Brennan: Malinin stirs tensions over perception of male figure skaters with his IG Live comment

Trillian

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I feel bad for Malinin at this point. Getting flack from figure skating fans is expected and deserved. Getting flack from the world because a major news outlet decided to do its best to make the incident go viral is not.

The problem with trying to package a “story” like this for a non-skating audience is that there’s a lot about the specific way homophobia operates in the skating community that the general public isn’t really in a position to understand. As much as Boitano tried to unpack that a little bit, and I don’t think Brennan’s intentions were bad in this case either, an article like this is not a good opportunity for a really nuanced take. So instead it gets packaged as a clickbait story about a teenager who screwed up, packaged for people who aren’t aware of the dynamics involved and mostly won’t care to learn, which I agree is not something Ilia deserves in this situation.
 

Bird

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Is using this issue for the sake of an audience really such a great thing?
No…
Although I guess it’s important that the US try to come together on this issue. People are threatening doctors or making bomb threats against hospitals or committing mass shootings like at club Q in Colorado.

When someone like Ilia makes a comment and then apologizes it’s unusual in the US. People don’t usually apologize about politics that way, and this issue is intensely political right now. It has the potential to walk the people who commit hate crimes back from their extremism if someone apologizes and explains their apology- even if what they actually did or said was not so terribly bad.

But figure skating’s audience is dependent on the concept of gender freedom or sexual freedom in the increasingly divisive political environment…so his apology could help that. Does he deserve the burden of being exposed to hatred because of that? No. Absolutely not. His apology being public helps things at a personal cost to him, which when it is acknowledged may remove any animosity towards him entirely.
 

On My Own

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No…
Although I guess it’s important that the US try to come together on this issue. People are threatening doctors or making bomb threats against hospitals or committing mass shootings like at club Q in Colorado.

When someone like Ilia makes a comment and then apologizes it’s unusual in the US. People don’t usually apologize about politics that way, and this issue is intensely political right now. It has the potential to walk the people who commit hate crimes back from their extremism if someone apologizes and explains their apology- even if what they actually did or said was not so terribly bad.

But figure skating’s audience is dependent on the concept of gender freedom or sexual freedom in the increasingly divisive political environment…so his apology could help that. Does he deserve the burden of being exposed to hatred because of that? No. Absolutely not. His apology being public helps things at a personal cost to him, which when it is acknowledged may remove any animosity towards him entirely.
Here's my issue with this article and Ilia's second apology (he'd posted two, one right after the incident and one a week later): Neither reads as anything more than the USFS trying to protect their own image, which is irrelevant to me, and has nothing to do with the community they purport to be caring about.

I agree Ilia walking back on his comment would be "powerful", but he did that with his first apology anyway. Maybe people didn't like it, but it seemed much more like him, and that's worth much more to me.
 
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Bird

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Here's my issue with this article and Ilia's second apology (he'd posted two, one right after the incident and one a week later): Neither reads as anything more than the USFS trying to protect their own image, which is irrelevant to me, and has nothing to do with the community they purport to be caring about.

I agree Ilia walking back on his comment would be "powerful", but he did that with his first comment anyway. Maybe people didn't like it, but it seemed much more like him, and that's worth much more to me.
Yes…so overall you think the article was a bad idea, then? Potentially stirring someone up to make hateful comments about Ilia or homophobic comments while supposedly defending him without really achieving anything at all? I think that was MacMadame’s impression too.

There’s the quote from Boitano near the end. Maybe as time passes more will be said on the topic…

“So,” he said, "we’ve got to give them a chance to explain themselves when they have time to think about it. This is much more complex in the sport of skating than just people getting angry about something that was said on social media, and we need to understand that and talk about it.”

I would like more articles about the sport of skating to be in USA Today, along with articles about why and how people change their minds about political issues or embrace diversity when they hadn’t before.
 
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On My Own

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Yes…so overall you think the article was a bad idea, then?
I think the article's intentions are misplaced. But I will also say, this seems to have satisfied many Americans, so maybe it got the job done.
There’s the quote from Boitano near the end. Maybe as time passes more will be said on the topic…

“So,” he said, "we’ve got to give them a chance to explain themselves when they have time to think about it. This is much more complex in the sport of skating than just people getting angry about something that was said on social media, and we need to understand that and talk about it.”
I would say "conversations" don't really help anything, but I also don't really care about the topic too much. People who tend to have their noses stuck into this sort of stuff aren't people I like, and definitely aren't people I trust in any regard, and tend to be nasty and bigoted in their own ways more often than not - and yet too stupid to realize it. I don't care how moral you appear in a "conversation", it's very easy to type words and pretend you accomplished something.

So they can do whatever they want. It's not my culture or my people anyway, and I don't really care about seeing this "fixed" or anything.
 

Bird

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I think the article's intentions are misplaced. But I will also say, this seems to have satisfied many Americans, so maybe it got the job done.

I would say "conversations" don't really help anything, but I also don't really care about the topic too much. People who tend to have their noses stuck into this sort of stuff aren't people I like, and definitely aren't people I trust in any regard, and tend to be nasty and bigoted in their own ways more often than not - and yet too stupid to realize it. I don't care how moral you appear in a "conversation", it's very easy to type words and pretend you accomplished something.

So they can do whatever they want. It's not my culture or my people anyway, and I don't really care about seeing this "fixed" or anything.
Yet hostility works both ways and feeds off itself. Try to imagine yourself getting into a political argument with yourself. What would you say if you had to argue the other side with everything you were worth like your life depended on it? Just like you never were really arguing in bad faith, but saying what you believe, it’s often the case too with the other person. Calling them stupid doesn’t change how they feel. In order to debate you’d need to understand why they felt that way.
 

On My Own

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Try to imagine yourself getting into a political argument with yourself. What would you say if you had to argue the other side with everything you were worth like your life depended on it?
You mean in a debate setting?

I would do my research of the other side thoroughly, and try to present it in a manner that's honest to myself.
 

On My Own

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Just like you never were really arguing in bad faith, but saying what you believe, it’s often the case too with the other person. Calling them stupid doesn’t change how they feel. In order to debate you’d need to understand why they felt that way.
I have no clue what this is supposed to mean. My reply is supposed to be for both ends of the debate.

Yes, I'd say people who care about this too much are setting too much store by something very trivial, and therefore are being stupid. I don't particularly care how they feel, when there are feelings on both ends, and neither end cares about the other's feelings. This isn't something special, and in fact seems to be a key in most politics around the world, but there are better things to care about usually, and this particular topic ranks very low on the scale.

I hope to be done with this, if it's not possible to leave what happens in the PI board where it is. Would prefer people to not misrepresent what is said there, as has happened, because there's only so much amusement I can garner out of it.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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Here's my issue with this article and Ilia's second apology (he'd posted two, one right after the incident and one a week later): Neither reads as anything more than the USFS trying to protect their own image,
Yeah, that was how I read it. Cynically I believe USFS using teen acting out to portray itself as caring. A little too facile.

Lets see how they do when confronted with ISU reinstatement of Russians. Will they be so caring of US athletes having to compete against Russians probably using some new concoction? It`s been debilitating for athletes knowing others are probably cheating. Just look how European skating is bouncing back after just one year of the Russian ban. But I digress.:blah:
 

On My Own

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Yeah, that was how I read it. Cynically I believe USFS using teen acting out to portray itself as caring. A little too facile.

Lets see how they do when confronted with ISU reinstatement of Russians. Will they be so caring of US athletes having to compete against Russians probably using some new concoction? It`s been debilitating for athletes knowing others are probably cheating. Just look how European skating is bouncing back after just one year of the Russian ban. But I digress.:blah:
There are many greater issues right about now Christine Brennan and USAToday can be talking about. Like this Russian ban one, or the fact that recently Kelsey Parker was appointed for some thing or the other by the USFS. It makes zero sense to be digging this up again, and slapping Brian Boitano's name onto it.

But, as it seems, many ate it up. Whatever. As long as we can tell ourselves we did good, it's all good.
 

Sarah

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At the end of the day, what Ilia said was inappropriate and offensive. But he is 18 and he apologized. I won’t judge him over this incident. He can have a second chance (in my book). But, if something similar happens in the future? I probably won’t be so forgiving.

It’s a good lesson for him to learn that what you put out on social media matters and Instagram can be forever. He’s been pushing for followers and having a big social media presence has consequences.

As for the article itself? It was fine.
 

skateboy

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It's so hard for modern kids to grow up in the spotlight of a voracious and unrelenting 24-hour news cycle.

"mainstream news article" does not equal real journalism. CB strikes again, going for the easy stuff to make noise (and tarnish the sport, whether she meant to or not) when she could have let it lie. I don't see her writing positive things, like an article on the behind-the-scenes prep for Ice Theatre of New York this weekend. Le sigh.
I absolutely can't stand Christine Brennan. I won't go into the reasons why.
 

Ananas Astra

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Since LGBT in figure skating made great strides since 2014, I’m confident it will continue to. Ilia and Nathan will be skating together with Jason and Paul, with choreography by Jeff Buttle- in just a couple weeks…so I hope the fences continue to get mended, nothing more hurtful is said, etc. Happiness for all.
I don't care if a skater is straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual.
A good or great skater remains a good or great skater. Period.
I am not AT ALL interested in what they do between the sheets.
So this entire issue with "who's out and who's not" is totally irrelevant for sports where usually the best one wins.
This obsession with "out and proud" athletes is getting more attention than their actual results which is not exactly helping our favorite sport.
 

4rkidz

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I don't care if a skater is straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual.
A good or great skater remains a good or great skater. Period.
I am not AT ALL interested in what they do between the sheets.
So this entire issue with "who's out and who's not" is totally irrelevant for sports where usually the best one wins.
This obsession with "out and proud" athletes is getting more attention than their actual results which is not exactly helping our favorite sport.
An obsession with wanting to hold their partners hand in the street? Hug and kiss, be referred to without immediately assuming they are heterosexual, it’s not about what happens in the sheets, it’s life in general and should not be hidden in shame. An obsession to be treated equally with respect, to be proud to be themselves? I pity your ignorance.
 

Bird

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I don't care if a skater is straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual.
A good or great skater remains a good or great skater. Period.
I am not AT ALL interested in what they do between the sheets.
So this entire issue with "who's out and who's not" is totally irrelevant for sports where usually the best one wins.
This obsession with "out and proud" athletes is getting more attention than their actual results which is not exactly helping our favorite sport.
There were a lot of mainstream news articles about Ilia’s quad axel, so I think the general public already respects him a lot as an athlete. They will probably respect him even more over the next few years, since he’s still so young. I know one person who doesn’t follow figure skating at all who saw the news article about Ilia’s quad axel and commented to me about it.

Articles that promote skating as a “diverse sport that includes art” grow the figure skating audience, I think, and allow people to fully express themselves without the burden of unfair shame. That means more people showing up to watch Ilia, or Jason. Ilia doesn’t have to be gay to express himself.
 

Allskate

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I don't care if a skater is straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual.
A good or great skater remains a good or great skater. Period.
I am not AT ALL interested in what they do between the sheets.
So this entire issue with "who's out and who's not" is totally irrelevant for sports where usually the best one wins.
This obsession with "out and proud" athletes is getting more attention than their actual results which is not exactly helping our favorite sport.
Ilia was the one who linked sexual orientation with skating by saying that he needed to not be straight to get better scores. It had nothing to do with being "out and proud." IMO, his comments really were about his skating because he seemed frustrated about his scores and it seemed that this was a big motivation for his comments linking his lower PCS scores with being straight.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with being out and proud. I wish Brian Boitano could have been out and proud when he was skating. I think he would have been happier, and I think some skating fans and other skaters coming up would have been happier. And I don't think Brian coming out or any skater coming out while they were skating has gotten more attention than their actual results. I would guess that most casual skating fans don't even know that Amber or Jason came out. If there are fans who are more obsessed with a skater's sexual orientation than their skating results, that says more about the fan than the skater.

On another note, I have yet to see anyone say that Ilia's comments were unforgiveable or see anyone saying that they were perfect when they were younger, so the responses asking other posters if they were perfect or referring to the need to forgive seem to be shooting down straw horses and an attempt to shut down criticism and discussion.
 
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MacMadame

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Ilia was the one who linked sexual orientation with skating by saying that he needed to be straight to get better scores.
Actually, he said he needed to NOT be straight.

But the rest of your post, I agree with.
 

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